Kentucky Oaks winner Pretty Mischievous holds on in Acorn

Kentucky Oaks winner Pretty Mischievous holds on in Acorn
Photo: Jason Moran / Eclipse Sportswire

Elmont, N.Y.

If there was any question about the leadership of the 3-year-old filly division, Pretty Mischievous made the answer clear when she prevailed in a battle down the stretch to win Friday's Grade 1, $500,000 Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park.

The victory for the Brendan Walsh-trained Godolphin homebred daughter of Into Mischief came five weeks after her triumph in the Kentucky Oaks (G1).

“She beat some very, very, good fillies today as she did it the Oaks,” a happy Walsh said. “It’s just a tribute to her to do what she’s done the last two starts.”

The Acorn is run around one turn at 1 1/16 miles and right out of the gate the fast filly Munnys Gold went to the lead and opened up a half-length lead that increased to 1 1/2 lengths after six furlongs. Meanwhile Pretty Mischievous began the race in sixth position and was ridden patiently by her regular jockey Tyler Gaffalione.

The pace was fast as Munnys Gold turned out fractions of 23.24 and 46.37 seconds and 1:10.86, with Dorth Vader and Goodgirl Badhabits pressing the pace. As the frontrunners sprinted, Pretty Mischievous moved easily to fifth and then third while racing clear of traffic a few paths to the outside.

When the field hit the homestretch, Pretty Mischievous collared Munnys Gold and by the eighth pole had taken command of the race. Dorth Vader was the filly that came out of the cluster of horses that were the pace setters.

At the stretch call, the Godolphin filly had a half-length lead, but there was no quit in Dorth Vader who battled back on the rail.

“She (Pretty Mischievous) was in front and I was worried because she will idle a little bit, like she did in the Oaks and she did it again today,” explained Walsh.

Gaffalione knew what to expect of his filly and was able to defeat Dorth Vader by a head in a final time of 1:43.33.

“She gets to the lead and she kind of waits. She just has so much talent. I don’t think we’ve seen the best of her yet,” Gaffalione said. “I’m just so proud of her. She’s really developed into an amazing filly. She seems to just be getting bigger and stronger with each race. I can’t wait for the day she finishes out one of her races.”

Pretty Mischievous and Dorth Vader finished four lengths ahead of Occult who rallied from last to finish third. Munnys Gold, who was the 1.65-1 favorite, was fourth another half length behind. The winner was the second choice at 1.90-1 and place horse was 11-1 and they produced a $2 exacta that paid $47.80. With a 27-1 long shot in the show spot, the $2 trifecta paid $290.

Pretty Mischievous’s career record is impressive at 8: 6-1-1 with earnings of $1,481,560. She won her first two starts as a 2-year-old and now has four stakes victories, including the recent pair of Grade 1s.

“This is the kind of stuff that you dream about,” Walsh said with glee. “It gives me great satisfaction to have filly as good as her for the team at Godolphin.”

New York Racing Association officials reported that betting on Friday’s 11-race card generated $26,078,400 in wagering from all sources, a new record for the first day of the Belmont Stakes racing festival. The previous high-water mark of $21,627,821 was set in 2021. The festival was launched as multi-day event in 2014.

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